There do seem to be a few misconceptions floating around regarding this case and the verdict:
- (a) the defendants weren't aware of the case
- (b) the judge automatically hands out default verdicts if one party doesn't show up
- (c) the judge is somehow hampered by the site being in Sweden
- (d) the judge looked into the merits of the case
(a) and (b) From local newspapers, it appears that Brein approached the judge with a fat logbook of their attempts to contact TPB via emial, twitter, chat etc., which incidentally received a cool reception. It didn't convince the judge, who reportedly asked: "Let's be old-fashioned. Don't they have an address register in Sweden that you can use to look up the defendant's address ?". Only when Brein then (reportedly) showed chat conversations in Swedish that clearly referred to the case and which they (apparently) linked to one of the defendants in a plausible way did the judge agree to deliver a default verdict.
(c) The case brought by Brein against TPB was about whether TPB infringed on *Dutch* copyright law *in Holland* by allowing Dutch citizens to use its service. Now Sweden and Holland are both EU members, so that a Dutch court has all the authority it needs to impose sanctions on Swedish subjects and corporations for any transgressions they commit against Dutch law in Holland. The same holds for any two pairs of EU members. Think of that. Moreover Swedish police are *required* to enforce the verdicts of said court in Sweden. That's the way the EU works, and incidentally I believe that's the way the USA works too (verdicts by one state are usually enforceable in another).
(d) As TPB didn't show up, the judge had two options: either agree or refuse to deliver a default verdict. Since Brein successfully argued that TPB was aware of the case, the judge agreed to deliver a default verdict. From that point on the judge hardly had any room to manouver, as he is *required* to sustain just about any claim that isn't explicitly opposed by the opposing party. Which in this case meant he *had* to rule in favour of Brein in every particular. Did Brein claim that TPB infringe on copyright and wasn't that denied? Then the judge must so rule. Did Brein claim that the site must be made inaccessible? The judge *must* so rule. Did Brein demand a penalty of 30k per day and argue that TPB makes lots of money, and did no-one deny this? The judge must, again, so rule.
Not because he's examined Brein's claim and judges it to be fair, but because their claim was at least plausible and *was not opposed*. That's what "default judgment" means folks.
The moral: don't let judges hand out default judgments against you because you can't be bothered to represent yourself.